Astronaut's Mother's Day message from space: 'Distance doesn't change' love
Astronaut Cady Coleman, shown here with a space station robot, has been in space for the past five months.
May 8th, 2011
01:38 PM ET

Astronaut's Mother's Day message from space: 'Distance doesn't change' love

Cady Coleman is like many moms, unfortunately spending Mother’s Day away from her family.  But unlike the others, Coleman is an astronaut on the international space station, orbiting 220 miles above the Earth.

She’s the only woman on board.  Hopefully, the boys up there gave her Sunday off.  Usually each crew member gets one day a week to chill.

Coleman may be an astronaut, but first and foremost she is a mom.  Cady sent me an e-mail a few days back. I could tell she was just beaming while writing about how her 10-year-old son, Jamey, had struck out three batters in one inning in his Little League game.

She just sent me this message telling me what it has been like up there, the work she is doing and why it is so important, and her feelings on being so far away on this day.  So now, in her words:

“Being a mom is special, and distance doesn’t change the bond we have with those we love.  It never goes away, even when you leave the planet for a few months!  It seems like just yesterday that Paolo Nespoli, Dmitry Kondratyev and I strapped ourselves into a frozen and creaking Russian Soyuz rocket, and were launched into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.   For the past five months, I’ve made the International Space Station (ISS) my home in low earth orbit, circling our Earth 16 times every single day at 17,500 miles per hour.  From 200 miles above the earth, my husband Josh and sons Jamey and Josiah seem both close  and far.

"I get to talk to my family almost every day via an internet protocol phone, and once a week we get to see each other on a video conference.  I still miss lots of important events and occasions, but thanks to Josh, Jamey writes a short journal entry almost every day.  Josh sends it to me and I love to hear about life from the perspective of a 10 year old.  Jamey is fond of a cartoon where a small boy and a tiger share adventures and get themselves into all sorts of mischief.

"I brought a small stuffed tiger up here with me and I take photos for Jamey so that he can relate to what his Mom does on the space station.  From the tiger’s perspective, there is a lot of great trouble to get into here on the ISS!

"Life in our ‘zero gravity’ world on the ISS is fascinating.  We talk about floating around, but really we get to fly from place to place.  It is just like Peter Pan, except that we are grownups!  This place brings out the child in all of us, and it is a nice reminder to me to treasure the things and the people that touch my heart.

"I love looking out the window at our Earth  a fragile oasis in a busy universe.  When I see the places that I know – the places where my family lives  it makes me feel closer to them, although still a bit wistful and lonely when I see those places recede over the horizon.

"It was hard for me to go so far away, but I’m hoping that I set an example for my child and others to follow their dreams.  My family knows that I love the work that I am doing up here, and that I think it is important enough to be gone from home for so long.

"Today as I look down at our beautiful Earth, I think of mothers everywhere and realize that we are all of one family.  I am not the only one who is farther from their loved ones than they would wish to be.  Today we celebrate those women who are supporting their families, following their dreams and making a difference, and we thank all of them.

"I’d especially like to thank the women who serve our countries in jobs that keep them from home on holidays like this one.

"Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, step mom, mother-in-law and to moms everywhere.”

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Filed under: Shuttle • Space
soundoff (156 Responses)
  1. HerselfAnne

    Tracy – I think what Janet is saying that astronaut mom is not representative of what a "true" loving and caring mother is. I would agree that any mother who CHOOSES to work instead of raising her kids is making the wrong choice. I have a law degree but decided (aka CHOSE) to stay home and raise my children. I can always practice law later but I wouldn't miss my child's first steps or the opportunity to nurture them as they grow up. Is THAT a contirbution? I guess not in your world unless my contribution adds to the coutnry's GDP - is that your measurement of "contributing" to society? I feel sorry for you. If you have a CHOICE to raise your kids, I feel bad for you if you miss the opportunity. It's only happens one time. No second chances.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaneyf

      This post reminds me of how many small minded people in our society still want to pigeon hole women into "traditional" roles. If you're a mom who resents her kids and stays at home, you're a "good mom", but if you're a mom who loves her kids and herself, who reaches for success for herself and her family, you're not a "good mom". Perhaps the lawyer who feels she needs to criticize a mother who left her kids with a loving father, who is obviously devoted to them, is herself feeling a little resentment to her kids. Personally, if I could spend five months on a space station, and leave my four children with my husband while I do it, I would grab that chance, and I KNOW my kids would be proud of me. I hope that the thinking, concious people in our country will continue to view women as equal partners to men, and therefor men as equal parents to women, and leave these archaic opinions where they belong – behind us. I have to say, I don't see anyone criticizing the FATHERS on the space station.

      May 8, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • HerselfAnne

      Problem is.....daddy's not home either. THAT'S the problem. No one is home. You people just don't get it.

      May 8, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skylar100

      Anne you need to mind your own business. This is a once in a lifetime thing and her family is proud of her. You were probably an ambulance chaser attorney

      May 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skylar100

      You are part of the problem. Tea Partier I guess

      May 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robby

      I don't think this has anything to do with "equality" (that's sooooo early 70s!). I think it has more to do with having a child and then CHOOSING to dump the kid at TEN WEEKS OLD into a day care center with some unknown 18 yr old girl. Pretty scary - not sure how you see it, but that is a pretty scary scenario. I think the poster is talking about those woman who HAVE A CHOICE to dump their kid off when the child needs it's mother most.....and then she CHOOSES her job over nurturing her child. Pretty sad.

      May 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tracy

    What would Jesus do? Would he improve the lives of the few (stay at home parent) or improve the lives of all? I think you know the answer.
    And no, contributing to the GDP is not the measure of contributing. Helping all of humanity live better is my measure of contributing to humanity. All of humanity means the entire world. I wouldn't expect a lawyer to understand such altruistic ideas.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. banasy


    How lovely that you've got the CHOICE. Many women don't.

    I feel sorry for you, given that you lack empathy for others that may not be in your gilded situation. I hope you do not pass that lack on to your children, as that would be a great disservice to them.

    While we are at it, do you think that perhaps some men might feel resentful that they miss out on all the "firsts"? I can think of a few of my friends who might want that. After all, why should it be for Mothers only?

    And, finally, way to take a heart warming story and throw it into the dumpster. I thank God my mother instilled a more loving nature in me than some other mothers do.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • HerselfAnne

      Yeah - you didn't read my post either. My comments are made towards woman who have a CHOICE....which many woman have. But sadly many CHOOSE to dump their kids at a day care center and chase the almighty dollar. If you don't have the choice, then my comments aren't directed towards you. I do love the ones who simply say that daddy can be home to take care of the kids. But that's not happening either if we're honest....because daddy is ALSO working. Turns out that NO ONE is home....and then we scratch our heads and wonder wy our kids cut themselves or turn to drugs. What a mystery! LOL!!

      May 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Skylar100

      You go Anne, you tell her like it is. What a killjoy she is. Maybe she is off her meds

      May 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. HerselfAnne

    So astronaut mom's career is more valuable than mine (stay at home mom)? Jesus would expect you to raise the child you brought into the world. You are a pathetic troll and horrible mother. You obviously work all day and leave the job of raising your children to someone else. Good luck with paying someone to "love" your children when you obviously won't take the time to nurture them yourself. Shame on you.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • dzdunn

      I believe the "someone" she left her children with was their father, her husband. I don't the she just left them behind, and I think she plans on coming back. In their family, dad has taken the role of primary caregiver. I don't see how that's worse than her taking on that role. Every family takes on the responsibilities differently – some families have stay at home dads. This particular woman feels a responsibility to her country and her science and know her kids are in good hands with their other parent. Her contribution is not more important than any other mother's contribution. It's probably different than yours, and mine is probably different than yours, too. We all contribute differently to our children's lives.

      May 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • guest10

      HerselAfnne: It seems that you are the one who is lacking love, you sound very hateful, I hope your children will not take that from you

      May 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • shaneyf

      Ane, I truly feel sorry for you. The fact that you feel badly about yourself is obvious by the abusive way you are communicating with people who differ with your opinion. If the world has learned anything in the last 2000 years, it should be that although something might be right for you, you don't have the right to say it has to be right for everyone. Egoic superiority is a clear sign of personal dissatisfaction. The need to put others down in order to boost yourself up is a clear sign of narcicism. I pray for you and hope that you will find inner peace, which you are so clearly lacking.

      May 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • rob

      yes it is more valuable

      May 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      Would Jesus judge others as you do? You are a poor example of his teachings. What's worse than your ignorance, intolerant and oppressive nature is that you have already bred therefore continuing the cycle of idiots walking this planet.

      May 8, 2011 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • HerselfAnne

      Jesus won't need to judge you - YOUR KIDS WILL DO THAT. Give it some'll see. Just wait until they old enough to reason....they will examine your lack of willingness BECAUSE YOU HAD A CHOICE to stay at home and didn't. Good luck explaining that away. "Well, Bobby, you were able to live in a big house and have a lot of toys - isn't that great". Bobby's response: "Thanks for not being there when I hit my homerun - you were at work chasing your dream. You missed the first time I walked because you CHOSE to dump me into a day care center. Shame on you mom."

      May 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      GUEST10 - what makes you so perfect? HerselfAnne sounds reasonable. Sounds like you're one of those mom's who CHOOSES to work and drops their kids off at the day care center each day. HerselfAnne makes a lot of sense - she's really just talking to the woman who CHOOSE to work and delegate the raising of their children to some 18 yr old at the day care center. She makes some very good points.

      May 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melanie

      Maybe she left her kids with her husband.....maybe he just dropped them off at the day care center. For parents who CHOOSE to work, my experience has been that they BOTH CHOOSE to delegate their parenting to some 18 yr old at the day care center. Pretty sad. Many, many women who CAN CHOOSE to stay home have been brainwashed into thinking they their career trumps nurturing their children. Very sad....and frankly shameful. Believe sure as I am typing these words, your children will look back and see the complete disregard for raising them when they needed you the most. It will be crystal clear to them that you CHOSE to work instead of raising them. Very sad indeed.

      May 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cesar

    Osama is alive, I saw him banging my mom last night.

    May 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      You need some serious psychological help if you think that is remotely funny. .

      May 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keithyo

      No he doesn't - that was pretty funny. Bet astronaut mom has ridden a lot of (pocket) rockets! LMAO!

      May 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wordsar


      May 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Cesar

    He didn't use a condom so probably I will have a muslim brother called Osama jr.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. i rock

    Too bad so many of you have/had a horrible relationship with your moms and cant accept this lady is doing what she does with her families unconditional approval. .so get a life get therapy and get over it

    May 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keithyo

      I disagree - my mom CHOSE to drop me at a daycare center until I was 10 years old. I will NEVER forgive her for that. She COULD HAVE stayed home with me and my sisters, but she CHOSE not to. Guess she loved her job more than us.

      May 8, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. i rock

    Too bad so many of you have/had a horrible relationship with your moms and cant accept this lady is doing what she does with her familys unconditional approval. .so get a life get therapy and get over it

    May 8, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tracy

    Actually HerselfAnne I am a stay at home mom. But I think you guys are really wrong for judging other people for the choices they've made because they aren't your choices. You can't control the whole world Anne. Everyone will not be shamed into following along with what you want them to be or do. I think if you were my mom I'd shoot myself. I will pray for you that you become a bit more open minded and more compassionate towards others. And I will pray for your children that they won't end up like you.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy


    I do not have the "reply" feature of my cell phone, so I do not know if you were talking to me, or not. I will, reply as if you were.

    First of all, I suspect didn't write the second post, as you were much more erudite in your first post.

    One job is not any more important than another job. A stay-at-home mother is important, if one can afford it. An astronaut is an important job, if one has the support system in place that can allow her to do it.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cesar

    @tracy, you don't deserve to have a mom, you have been a hor all your life. Keep selling your ass and shut up.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robby

      Caesar - clean it up. Tell your wife to shave her back before she stops by tonight.

      May 8, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wordsar


      May 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. HumbledOne

    Oh my! Way harsh judgements. Again, who are you guys to judge this woman? She is whom she is, rather a good or bad mom. Why so many harsh concerns about her and how she chooses to live her life? Allow this woman to be whom she is because at the end of the day, the only thing that truly matters is that she is a child of the Almighty and can only be fairly judged by him. Bottom line! Good day everyone.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • HerselfAnne

      Um, because HER decision affects her kids. That's why. So, poop out a kid, dump it into the day care system (where 18 yr old kids raise your children) and then pretend like you're a good mom. Doesn't work that way....not in a child's mind. Why bother having a kid if you plan on just having some 18 yr old watch your kid's first steps or first words???? I can tell you that my children's first words were not "Katie" (daycare sitter)....they were "Mommy" and I was right there to hear them. More than I can say for you shameless women who CHOOSE to chase your dreams and dump your kids off at the local day care center. Trust me - the 18 yr old is just punching a clock and doesn't give a rip about your Johnny. Can't pay someone to "love" your child ladies. Time to wake up.

      May 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    @dzdunne: Well put.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Joey

    O lordy, we are all such trolls. Troll earth. Troll planet.

    May 8, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bob

    aw hoe nice

    May 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
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